Just for Fun

What I Watched Last Night: When The Hosts Are Dicks

Most evenings, Mr. Cesy and I snuggle into bed, pull out a laptop and watch something before going to sleep (sssh, I know this bad but it works for us!). We’re huge fans of food shows and British shows. At the moment, the favourites on our night time rotation are Good Eats and Top Gear. Good Eats has provided us with hours of education and we’ve cooked some pretty good food from Alton Brown’s recipes. Top Gear is a British car show that focuses on the expensive cars you could never afford and ridiculous stunts (take a modified Toyota Hilux across the English Channel? Why not?). It never fails to have us in stitches of laughter. However, when you spend as long on the Internet as I have, you learn quickly that your heroes aren’t as perfect as you think.

Alton Brown has been recorded making racist and homophobic jokes at an event in Iowa, which is incredibly disheartening. He’s also on record making anti-fat statements. The lead host of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, can’t turn around without putting his foot in his mouth. He makes so many controversial statements his Wikipedia page has a “controversy” sub-heading. Highlights include saying people who make Hyundais probably eat dogs (as Hyundai is a Korean brand), saying that people who work at BMW are Nazis, making a mock Nazi salute and joking that a GPS unit would only take the owner of the car to Poland. Other targets of his include Malaysians, gays, Gordon Brown, the Welsh and striking public sector workers. His co-hosts, James May and Richard Hammond have also shown a decided lack of tact themselves on occasion.

So the hosts of my favourite shows are dicks but I cannot stop myself from watching these shows. I have to separate my love for these shows from the viewpoints of those who host them. They honestly make me laugh and I learn a lot, so I’m not prepared to put them on the bonfire just yet. I just have to think a bit. Still a shame though. Anyone else suffer from this dilemma?

By Cesy

Cesy grew up in a sheep farm in New Zealand. Accordingly some of her views are a bit strange.

12 replies on “What I Watched Last Night: When The Hosts Are Dicks”

there’s some documentary shows with asshole hosts that I watch, but I end up arguing with the hosts one sidedly.

like the. . . solving history? show where the host INTERRUPTS THE EXPERTS CONSTANTLY in a way that gets guided answers and has NO tact for local taboo. He even got all badgery about forcing museum people to talk about Nazis in GERMANY where UM. You have to approach the topic CAREFULLY. The entire country has come through stigma for what the Nazis did. You don’t badger historians specializing in what is essentially a sensitive subject like that there. And then he SULKED and blamed it on their feelings and blah blah blah when they rescinded permissions for interviews and booted him from the collection.

I know that a lot of fans out there think that the US version of Top Gear is sacrilage, but I still kinda like it, sometimes better than the orriginal simply because nothing the hosts have said has set my teeth on edge yet. (On the show, I don’t really follow them outside of it. Except for Tanner Foust and the life size Hot Wheels jump. That was awesome.)

And I am kinda sad to learn that Alton Brown can be a dick off camera.

The Top Gear dilemma is one I struggle with. I’ve read a few of Clarkson’s books (collections of the newspaper columns he writes, and engineering) and really enjoyed them but, yes, the comments he makes … it can be difficult to reconcile the enjoyment of his work and his, at times, sheer dumbass-ery. I think one point which has “eased” my discomfort is that he takes as many shots at himself as he does at others. Hmn. An interesting topic you’ve raised here, Cesy!

Wow.  I had no idea Alton was such a jerk.  That sucks.  I already knew the Top Gear people were, and I care beans about that show anyway.  But Alton?  I loved him.  I thought he was like, a food scientist.  And why would a food scientist make a joke to a little girl about possibly having two daddies?  Awful.

And now I’m thinking twice about those MythBusters associates, since they zapped Adam like that.  That is not cool.  What’s up with people?

I think what happens (at least for me) is that I forget that the hosts are people too. Flaws and all. I absolutely love Mythbusters, but I don’t think about the actual human personalities behind the screen. This video made me terribly, terribly uncomfortable, and even kind of put me off of Mythbusters for a bit, although now I’ve reverted back to my old love for it.

May and Hammond strike me as much nicer people overall than Jeremy Clarkson.  They have their occasional dick moves and moments of tactlessness, but not nearly as bad as Clarkson.  Everything out of his mouth is absurdly conservative, often sexist/racist/homophobic, anti-environmental, elitist, etc. etc. etc.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s hilarious and I love Top Gear, but if it were just Clarkson I’m not sure I could take it.  Luckily, with May and Hammond to balance him out, and most of the banter time taken up with the guys insulting each other, it becomes a totally watchable show (hosted by a dick!)

That’s pretty much how I feel. I was actually really really heartbroken when Hamster had his accident. It’s one of my favourite shows and it’s also very important in our house because it was Mr. Cesy’s little brother’s favourite show. When he died we took his casket out of the funeral home to the Allman Brother’s “Jessica” aka the Top Gear theme.

But Clarkson really is a dick.

Hammond is definitely the guy I think I would most want to hang out with on a regular basis (if given the opportunity.)

And I get the importance thing too (although luckily mine has nothing to do with loss.)  I live with my brother, and one of our favorite things to do when it’s just us hanging out at home is grab a couple beers and watch a Top Gear episode or two.  We get along great, so it’s not like we don’t have tons of other things we “bond” over, but Top Gear is something we’ve only gotten into together as roommates, so it helped bond us in that way too.

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